Well what a difference a few weeks makes.
2 weeks ago, I was travelling to Northamptonshire to deliver a presentation to support with innovation around resourcing for a large regional group. Fast forward and I am now working from my wife’s vanity table in our bedroom, juggling work, 2 children, Mille (4) and Harry (1), a slightly crazed Cavapoo (Oscar), and my wife who is also trying to work.
Following the Ministerial Announcement last night, with what I completely agree, the UK now finds itself ‘locked down.’ In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, we have at least 3 weeks of self-isolation to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, enabling our NHS to support as many people as possible and hopefully plateauing the curve.
Now anyone who knows me will know that I’m not one for ‘doom and gloom,’ and would rather try to look at the positives, and make light of a dark situation, be it personally or professionally.
‘Lets Come Together’
As a nation that prides itself on resilience, and that British mentality of overcoming adversity, once again I see everyone pulling together to ensure that we get through these interesting and challenging times as quickly and safely as possible.
I will not dwell on the fact that now is the time that people decide to go and visit the Lake District, or that we seem to be queuing for non-existent toilet roll, for a virus that has no relevant symptons for its use. I’m sure you see enough of this in the media every day (which is partly to blame for the situation we find ourselves in) but let’s focus on the positives.
Firstly, I would like to thank every person that is supporting my family daily. Be it the front-line stories of the NHS professionals who are putting themselves at risk to ensure that we (if needed) have the support and care to beat this. To Social Workers that are still working with children, adults and vulnerable people to ensure that they too are safe and protected. Through to our Education and Emergancy Services.
Lets not forget the DPS driver that just bought another parcel to my home earlier, (I now truly see the extend of my wife’s shopping addiction!), through too all other people that are ensuring food, and all amenities that we need are still being stocked, deliver, and produced.
When we rally together as a whole, we can overcome anything. I have personally made sure my neighbours have food and my daughter has been putting pictures through their doors to hopefully bring a smile, even if no one will have an idea of what they are. You hear stories of so many other people all reaching out to support their community and that is lovely to see. It’s taken a pandemic to show how we can support each other, and I have a feeling this will only get stronger.
Imperium and the wider group were in a great situation that we the Senior Leadership team, had a contingent plan in place. This ensured our staff were able to continue as normal and support Local Authorities and other Public Sector bodies with any requirements or contingent key roles, where and when we can.
Sometimes in sales/recruitment, an office-based scenario is preferred by management so that everyone is visible and has the training and support in person. However, this has been a breath of fresh air and the team, as expected, across the group have proven themselves, and are working away in their individual home offices, genuinely trying to support as many candidates and clients as possible.
Personally working from home has been a different challenge, and I won’t lie we have had a few BBC moments with the children running into an important conference call, or having ‘Baby Shark’ put on repeat by Alexa, but it has been so rewarding to spend some time with my children as they grow up and that has been invaluable. I will now say I take my hat off to all the teachers out there that do this daily, I salute you. Also, I will need to start my fitness regime from home as Joe Wicks morning class that my daughter loves have put me to shame after about 3 of his 20 exercises!
Hopefully this will be a mindset to change businesses, Councils and Public Authorities, that with the trust and technology we have, we can move into an era where working from home, still generates the outcomes required and I would go as far to say better them.
The Virtual Space
This has been my favourite change and one that we have embraced as a Company and Group.
I may not be in an office with the wider team, but every morning a throughout the day, using platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams we get to catch up and set the day and activity from the get-go. We are even looking at a virtual area, and quizzes/games, so that we can all socialise with our clients and candidates whilst being at home for the coming weeks. I am having a virtual drink with a key client this evening to just have a catch up and make sure everyone is ok in their service and world.
Recruitment is changing, and the staple search consultants’ tool of their phone and email has now been opened, yes you can still recruit via similar apps as listed as above. Imperium luckily last year spent a lot of time at looking at digital recruitment tools, and now use the Hinterview platform. This enables us to truly work with our clients and candidates, from shortlisting through to onboarding all on a virtual basis, with the same care and support given.
It’s also been the perfect time to launch our new podcast ‘Interim Insights.’ It’s a great opportunity to embrace all things digital, and instead of having valuable round table discussions, we can now reach a wider set of relevant people with key topics. We are looking at getting a few recorded over the next few weeks, and have some great speakers lined up, ranging in topics from innovation, to positive stories, through to the current situation and how Local Authorities could share information that may benefit all. If you do want to appear then please do reach out and I would love to discuss further.
So, the big question what is happening across the market. For now, I have to say it really does seem business as usual, and testament to the Local Authorities that are battling an unheard-of challenge daily.
Our current interims have moved to working from home in most cases (where they are able to), and we have seen Local Authorities utilise their skills in other areas from deployment of staff, through to technology to enable others to work from home. I genuinely believe everyone is just supporting where and when they can to ensure best outcomes for all.
We are still working with several key clients, around interim requirements, and whilst there may be some natural (and expected) delay, things are still moving ahead, with virtual interviews to support with the process, and ensure key interim staff can get started as quickly as possible.
Whilst we are still in the proverbial eye of the storm, these are unknown circumstances, but programmes and projects will still need to go ahead, integrations will still need to happen, and operational cover will still be required. All we want our clients and candidates to know is we are here when you need us.
We are currently looking at how we can reduce timescales and also rates to ensure we are doing our part also to support the country through this, so please do just get in touch if there is anything at all we can do to help.
Life will continue, but until then let’s all talk, look after each other (from a distance), and hopefully get back to some normality as soon as possible. If you need anything at all, be it an overview of the market if you are looking for a new role, taking advantage of our free video interviewing platform to find that key person, or just generally a chit chat, then reach out.
Stay in touch, and stay safe.